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CHAPTER FIFTEEN. NICU-Based Interventions for High-Risk Infants

Christine Reiner Hess

Subject Psychology » Developmental Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631222618.2004.00017.x


Ongoing improvements in neonatal medical technology have led to increased survival rates for preterm, low-birth-weight, medically fragile infants ( Hack & Fanaroff, 1999 ; O'Shea et al., 1997 ). These advancements have come at a price, however, in that there are greater numbers of preterm, low-birth-weight children at high risk for significant developmental delays and learning behavior problems than ever before ( Hack et al., 2000 ; Hack, Klein, & Taylor, 1995 ). A recent prospective study of extremely preterm children (<26 weeks gestation) showed that 50 percent of this group manifested developmental delays as early as 3 years of age ( Wood et al., 2000 ). Indeed, the need has never been greater for intervention programs designed to promote development in such children. With the authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (1986, reauthorized in 1997), the federal government extended early intervention and special education services to infants and toddlers (birth to 3 years) who have developmental delays and disabilities, and their families. With this legislation, states also have the option of providing services to at-risk children. This legislation reflects the widespread belief that intervention programs should begin as early in the child's life as possible, in order to have the best chance of preventing developmental delays. To this end, several intervention ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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